On January 16 at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City, software vendor members of OGC demonstrated for U.N. staff the interoperability that is now possible between their geographic information systems.
Last year, the U.N. ran a successful competitive bid and procurement for a system for use by the U.N. headquarters bodies, including the Security Council. The system, now in place, provides flexible and open Web access to geographic information from multiple sources. The openness of the system, that is, its interoperability with other systems, is made possible through common interfaces that comply with OGC's OpenGIS Specifications. The vendors demonstrating software at the January 16 event showed U.N. staff how wider use of such Web-based open interfaces would help U.N. agencies and partner organizations around the world efficiently develop, publish, discover, share and use geographic information.
Hiroshi Murakami, Chief of the U.N. Cartographic Section, explained, "U.N. decisions and operations depend on geographic information in activities such as brokering agreements on boundaries, coordinating humanitarian relief, planning and deploying peacekeeping initiatives, eradicating disease, removing land mines, promoting sustainable agriculture and development and protecting the environment. Geographic information in the U.N. is maintained independently by different U.N. organizations. This distributed approach demands an open and networked system, which is now possible through OpenGIS Specifications."
OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 255 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications. OpenGIS Specifications support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. The specifications empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications.
Source: OpenGIS Consortium, Jan. 30, 2004